Probably no human power could have relieved me of my addiction. And when I mention human power, I think of my power. And that power comes from my ego. For me, when I speak of ego, I am talking about my self-concept, who I am, or better, who I think I am. It is my ego that tells me I am separate from everyone, that my consciousness ends here…and everything else is ‘out there’.
When I was in my addiction, my ego told me that I was okay. I was fine. I might have screwed something up, but everyone does that. My ego liked to justify my actions. It is my ego that told me I was better than everyone else and the same ego that said I was worse than whale dung at the bottom of the ocean. If I came out on top, I would say that I did that! If I was circling the hole at the bottom of the toilet, than it was circumstances, or problems or others who were the cause. Ego likes to take credit and cast blame. Ego believes it can do no wrong and can justify any action it takes. Ego believes that it has all the power.
When I began my journey down Recovery River, I had to admit that Ego wasn’t always telling me the truth, or what it was giving me was a slanted version of the truth. Ego told me that my using wasn’t bad. It told me I could quit any old time I wanted to. It said that those people really don’t care about me. Ego said I was better than the guy who panhandles on the street for a rock or who drinks Listerine or who’s been thrown out of his home. Ego told me I didn’t need help and that it would handle everything. Even after I had been in the program for a while Ego said that I had this and I could handle this by myself; I wouldn’t need the group, the meetings, a sponsor or the steps to stay sober.
However, it became glaringly apparent that Ego wasn’t doing its job, or perhaps it was doing its job too well! I am grateful that I listened to those about me and not to Ego. Perhaps I hadn’t had a bottom as low as some others around the table, but they told me if I wanted to follow Ego, I was more than welcome to hand my life back to Ego to find out how things would go.
Fortunately, I started to relate to what was being said around the table and not compare myself. I saw that while I wasn’t panhandling, but I wasn’t paying bills on time and I always made sure that I had my stash. I wasn’t drinking mouthwash, but I was buying the cheapest liquor so that I could afford more. I wasn’t out on the street, but my addiction made me a poor choice for a companion. I began to see that what Ego said was twisted. I began to see that Ego’s power was limited. It was limited because it was controlled by me: Ego was controlling Ego which became a vicious cycle spiraling downward.
What became my power? At that point it didn’t matter. All that mattered is that it wasn’t me, Ego, that had the power in my life. Hell, a door knob had more power because at least it was useful; at least it could open a door. I came to believe in a power greater than myself: something, anything was more powerful than I was at that point. Ego had proven itself a powerless liar leading me down the proverbial garden path.
I have to say that I am still reticent to use the word God. I prefer to use Higher Power, or Consciousness or the Infinite. I prefer to end the meeting with the Serenity Prayer rather than the Our Father. I prefer not to define the who, what or how of my Higher Power because putting a definition on that power also puts limits on what that power can do. Slowly I am growing in my understanding of this God.
When things are not going as I would have hoped, I can always look for Ego in the situation. Every time I look, I find it. Ego is me looking for things to go my way. Ego is justifying and rationalizing my actions. Ego is building me up or tearing you down. When I stop and recognize what is happening, I can do as someone said: “Drop the E and and a D. I turn it over to God, as I understand it, her, him, and somehow my perspective changes, I realize I am not in this alone. I know that Ego is not in charge. I am grateful.
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Please like and share this blog, not to stroke my ego, but for those who need the courage, strength and hope to start and continue their journey down Recovery River. I would appreciate it if you would sign up and follow as well. My intention is to post Mondays and Thursdays. Please comment and offer suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.